Choline is an essential nutrient naturally present in certain foods, especially animal products such as liver, salmon and eggs. Choline (bitartrate) provides methyl groups needed for many different metabolic functions, including normal muscle function, liver health and early brain development.* The body requires choline to make phospholipids, which are vital for cell membrane integrity and nerve myelination.* As a component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, Choline benefits memory, mood and muscle control.* Choline also helps modulate gene expression, cell membrane signaling, and lipid transport and metabolism.* Although humans produce some choline in the liver, the amount is not sufficient to meet the body’s requirements, and most people in the United States consume less choline than they need to prevent deficiency. This has led to the recent publication of a Recommended Daily Intake of 550mg for adults, which may be obtained from diet or a choline supplement. Groups at increased risk of choline deficiency include pregnant women, vegetarians and those with genetic variations involving the metabolism of choline, folate, and methionine.* The American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have both recently reaffirmed the importance of evidence-based amounts of choline for pregnancy and lactation. Preliminary research suggests that a higher maternal choline intake during pregnancy, and possibly lactation, may have lasting neurocognitive benefits for the offspring.*
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